Workpackages

The five research objectives will be addressed within three interconnected workpackages (WPs) each of which will have a series of specific projects designed:

WP1: Ice sheet history on circum-North Atlantic continental shelves

Addressing objectives 1 & 2

Any attempt to understand the late Cenozoic evolution of the North Atlantic continental margins necessarily requires a detailed assessment of the record of shelf glaciations(s). Four major ice sheets delivered meltwater, icebergs and sediment into the North Atlantic during glacial periods: the Greenland, British-Irish, Svalbard-Barents Sea and Fennoscandian ice sheets. However major data gaps remain in the understanding of ice sheet extent, dynamics and chronology. For example, evidence exists that maximum extension of the Greenland Ice Sheet onto the shelf occurred early during the Weichselian (Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 4) instead of during the Last Glacial Maximum (MIS 2). Hence, the central focus of this WP is the question of what is the role of ice sheet advance and retreat on the continental shelf in terms of spatial extent, flow dynamics and timing.

WP2: Glacigenic sedimentation and sediment delivery across the continental margin from fjord to deep sea

Addressing objectives 1, 3, 4 & 5

Central to an understanding of the evolution of the glaciated North Atlantic margins are the processes by which glacier-influenced marine sediment is transferred across the margin to the deep sea and the resulting sediment characteristics and architecture. Hence, this WP explores the link between sedimentary process and product and addresses thequestion of how glacigenic sediments are formed at a local scale in both ice-proximal and ice-distal environments and how this relates to margin development. WP2 links strongly with WP1 in its assessment of how the frequency and timing of extreme shelf edge glaciations has facilitated the calving of ultra-deep draft icebergs.

WP3: The inter-relationship of glacial and non-glacial processes on the North Atlantic margins

Addressing objectives 3, 4 & 5

Processes such as isostatic rebound, past spatial and temporal changes in ocean circulation and the development of fluid flow structures are all related either wholly or in part to past glaciations but the precise linkages and relative importance of glaciation as an overarching control are still debated. This final WP therefore focuses on the question of how do glacial processes interact with non-glacial processes across the North Atlantic margins and will investigate a range of different aspects pertaining to this problem including modelling investigation of glacioisostatic adjustment and development of fluid flow systems on glaciated margins.

Projects within these WPs are inherently cross-disciplinary and involve investigations of both existing and new datasets at a range of scales from the study of individual sediment cores to the large-scale studies of 3-D seismic packages across the continental margin. They will combine geomorphology, geophysics, sedimentology from outcrop, core and in borehole studies, geochemistry, palaeontology, remote sensing, GIS and numerical modelling. Each WP is composed of a series of projects for ESRs or ERs (hereafter referred to as ‘Fellows’) focusing on different but complementary aspects of the problem. This is to ensure an enhanced level of training for the individual Fellows and to strengthen collaborative links between the different projects and institutions. Collectively, the projects span the glaciated margin of the North Atlantic from Svalbard and the Barents Sea in the north, to Britain and Ireland in the south and then the west side of the North Atlantic along the Greenland margin (Figure 1). For each of the 15 Fellows below the lead supervisors are identified in bold. All projects including industrial supervisors will involve secondments of the Fellows toindustry for periods of several months (see section B.3) with the exception of Fellow 12 (WP3) who will be hosted by the level 1 industrial partner (NorthEnergy) and seconded to the partner university (UoT). The estimated time schedule of the single projects is displayed in the chart B.8.

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